Why You Don’t Always Need the Latest Photography Gear

Why You Don't Always Need the Latest Photography Gear

If you’re anything like me, you spend half your time fighting for new business and the other half fighting your urge to spend the money you make from new business on gear. So, for a bit of fun, today I thought I’d share my own personal, self-directed pep talk whenever I feel the urge to splurge.

I see you sitting there. One window open to Fstoppers. Learning about the latest and greatest gear. A second window permanently parked on B&H. Maybe a third open to Amazon.

You must have spent half the morning so far pouring over options. You’ve looked at all the mirrorless cameras. You’ve read every review and memorized the specs. You’ve even spent more time than you’d care to admit reading the gearheads duke it out in the comment sections over everything from the importance of sensor size to whether or not having two card slots magically designates you a professional photographer.

You’ve imagined yourself walking onto set with all these new toys. Naturally, everything from the $2,500 lens to the round, metal dongle whose name you can’t recall but were told was an absolute necessity by your favorite vlogger is in your bag. And of course, you imagine you’ll use every single item in your new artillery, forgetting for a moment that you’ve been getting along just fine without any of it to this point.

As a matter of fact, if you were to take a moment to really think about it, you’d realize that anything deemed cutting edge technology can’t, by definition, be a necessity. Since photography has been around for well over a century, with amazing imagery being created long before you were born, it stands to reason that as much as you want that new LED panel, it would be hard to argue that you objectively need it.

Was Richard Avedon any less of a photographer because he didn’t shoot mirrorless? Did Alfred Hitchcock suck as a director simply because he didn’t have dual-pixel autofocus at his disposal? Of course not.

You don’t become a professional photographer by being able to buy the best equipment. You’re not being hired for your ability to use your credit card. You’re being hired for your ability to create art that no one else can create. You’re being hired for your unique voice. You’re being hired for your experience and because you’ve put in the hard work over the years to now make it all look so easy.

So, maybe all those hours you spent on Google this morning trying to get the definitive answer to whether full frame or APS-C is a superior format wasn’t the best use of your time. Maybe it would have been more useful to have spent the morning cold-calling clients for whom you can put your old equipment to use. Maybe instead of surfing the web, you should have been updating your own website. Maybe instead of having a Twitter duel over the merits of someone else’s work, you should be out creating work of your own.

Being a professional photographer is not about the tools you bring to set inside your designer case. It’s about the creativity and work ethic you have no matter what tool you hold in your hand.

So, next time you find yourself strolling down the digital shopping aisles in search of value, turn your attention instead to building the value of your own product. Instead of looking for a new camera, ask yourself if there’s a way to get more out of the one you already have. Instead of trying to convince yourself that you really need that upgraded lens, ask yourself if there’s a new way you can look at a familiar subject. And next time you subconsciously, maybe not so subconsciously, begin to think that you could really go to “the next level” if only you had better equipment, remind yourself that you can’t buy creativity. You can’t buy experience. You can only work for it.


Five Pieces of Gear That Are Always in My Photography Bag

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With every job or concept we go to shoot, our gear that we take with us is constantly changing. We take our full lighting setup for a day in the studio then we turnaround and pack a separate bag to go shoot in the mountains for that perfect sunset. The gear we take with us is on a constantly turning roundabout between our bags and kits. Through all the madness there does seem to be a few items that are consistently put into every setup. It’s those pieces of gear that work in all scenarios that are invaluable to us and how we work. These are the five items that I won’t leave the house without regardless of what’s on the agenda.

External Battery

When you want to talk about a universally useful item for any photographer it’s hard to leave out an external battery. I don’t think you could find anyone today who hasn’t had a battery die on them at a bad time making their job harder. This gains even more importance if you have a camera that can be charged via USB like the Sony Alpha series of camera. Having this in my bag is great to hook my phone and camera to charge while going between locations in the city or on a hike I can use it to charge my headlamp to make sure I don’t get stranded in the dark. These come in a variety of different charge capacities and ports so make sure the get the one that suits you the best.

Peak Design Capture Pro

I have used this more than any other item in my kit and it has the battle scars to prove it. This is for the people that always want their cameras out of the bag and accessible at all times. Having this on your shoulder strap will ensure that you won’t miss those candid shots that happen for that spilt second. It also provides a secure attachment system to free up both of your hands and keep the camera safe. It uses an Arca Swiss tripod plate so it may not cater to everybody, but if you do decide to implement the Capture Pro I don’t see you being disappointed.

Camera Weather Protection

This one is pretty self-explanatory and it’s a piece of gear that usually goes unnoticed until you realize you don’t have it and need it. Everyone is going to find themselves in bad weather at one point or another and we all know that these shiny high tech cameras don’t go well with water. It could be as simple as keeping a spare grocery bag tucked away in a pocket or getting something specific like a camera sleeve but it could save your wallet in the long run.

Joby GorillaPod

The Joby Gorillapod is the Swiss army knife of camera tripods because it’s not great at anything but can do little bit of everything. Made popular by the vlogging community on YouTube it has since become a mainstay in my camera bag. I have used this in so many different situations from a main tripod on a hike, phone time lapses while shooting locations, putting a LED light up in a tree, and attaching it to my main tripod to hold the separate preamp when recording a video. It’s such a simple and intuitive design and you’ll never catch me anywhere without one.

The Classic Pocket Knife

Just like my great grandfather I will always have a sharp pocket knife on my bag or in my pocket. This is used multiple times a day no matter what I’m doing. From cutting gaff tape to opening those brand new boxes from your favorite camera store, everyone needs a solid pocket knife to take along with them. Along with the external battery this is gear that I’d have on me no matter what career I was involved in. Just be careful to remove them when going through airports or being aware of the state’s laws that you’re visiting as they may have specific restrictions on size, style, etc.

Everyone’s style and work will dictate which pieces of gear end up in their bag. You may use all of these already or have no use for any of them. These are just the pieces that suit what I do and over time these will constantly be evolving to what is continuing to better my workflow. Just find what works best for you and keep shooting!


don’t worry, Twitter isn’t always going to broadcast all your replies

Twitter simply announced massive adjustments to how tweets worknamely, getting rid of pictures, video hyperlinks and mentions from the one hundred fortyindividual restrict, to help deliver posts someinnovative respiration room. some adjustments to the manner “@” replies paintings imply you are going to see even more tweets on your feed from humans you comply with. maximum essential, theorganisation desires to reduce confusion for new customers — which it sorely desires more of.

however while the social network attempts to streamline and clarify, a number of the adjustments arebarely difficult. After studying the enterprise‘s short blog put up announcing the news, we have a fewlingering questions. Do the modifications imply limitless mentions in tweets? (Spoiler: of direction not.) Will your fans see all of your respond tweets? well, that depends.

Twitter is eliminating the paintingsaround people use to reply to others in any such way that theirfollowers can see the communique in their feeds. in place of[email protected]while citing this web site, as an example, (which inside the beyond allowed your followers to see the tweet), “@engadget” will now suffice. (One person saved!) consider this as a “point out tweet,” commenced from scratch. Yourfollowers might see this while the modifications come into being.

but, in case you were replying to an present “@engadget” tweet, this would be in a “respond style” andmight most effective be visible by way of users who follow each you and @engadget — not all of yourfans. (if you want your followers to look a respond, you could take gain of the brand new ability to retweet your self.)

Usernames in tweets may not be counted against your “respondcharacter restriction, but they willcount number in “mention” tweets. when I placed it that way it makes greater feel but yes, it is first of alla bit difficult. (it is worth remembering that up till 2009, you saw each tweet of someone you follow: theentire Twitter firehose.)

whilst usernames may not remember toward your person assume replies, there may be still a limit of 50. A Twitter spokesperson introduced that while this can exchange later, that is the current cap. high-quality with us: Fifty usernames sounds pretty severe as it’s far.

Now let‘s cross back to the loss of the “[email protected]” hack. New tweets that begin with a username will now be broadcast in your followers with the aid of default — even in case you only wanted some humans to see it. Sorry, Twitter, but no longer everything starts with replying to someone else’s tweet. With thoseadjustments, even in case you wanted to make a snarky in-joke to a chum, every body following you maysee it. it’s like your hushed, one-on-one communication in a pub is now broadcast on loudspeakers toanyone else in the bar. happily, Twitter users will probably find approaches around anything featuresthey don’t like.

For its component, Twitter may be happy, as those tweaks will nearly clearly stimulate greatercommunique, extra retweets, greater replies and more likes. The social network may want to get very loud.it may make the maximum vocal Twitter users you observe appear even more vocal — possibly to a cloyingdegree. The same will be said for the capacity to retweet and quote your self. we’ll reserve judgement tillthe adjustments move into impact, but don’t forget: the mute and block buttons are there for a reason.